Saudi Arabia’s cabinet has approved the formation of a company capitalized at SR2bn ($533mn) to invest in manufacturing industries as part of Riyadh’s push to diversify its economy and create jobs. The Saudi Arabian Company for Industrial Investment will be owned 50% by the Ministry of Finance’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), 25% by Saudi Aramco and 25% by SABIC. “It will focus on conversion industries that rely on petrochemicals, plastics, fertilizers, steel, aluminum and basic industries to achieve economic diversification,” official news agency SPA reported on 24 March.

SPA says the mandate of the company will be to identify and invest in industrial firms that are considered to be in strategic sectors. Central to its work will be a major development program by Saudi downstream firms to expand their refining and petrochemicals capacity, with a view not only to increasing exports but also to establishing chemicals-based manufacturing industry within the kingdom. Saudi firms and government agencies are developing industrial parks and “clusters” to target global manufacturing sectors including automotive, electronics, plastics, packaging, consumer goods, paints and detergents (MEES, 7 March). (CONTINUED - 276 WORDS)